Belle Chatter

Hometown Picnic at Maymont in Richmond, Virginia

Last Updated on
NYC June 2010

We invite you to join us every second Wednesday of the month around the cafe table.

This month’s question for Across the Cafe Table:

“What’s your favorite spot to have a picnic?”

When I sat down to write my answer to this week’s question, I had to struggle to think of the last time I actually “went on a picnic.” Sure I have eaten a sandwich wrapped in cellophane several times in recent memory… a picnic by default, really.  These sandwiches were consumed  in some really remarkable places such as a roadside picnic table at Ceasars Head State Park here in South Carolina and on a bench in Rome. But my favorite?

For that I have to go back to my childhood to Maymont.

Maymont is a remarkable 100 acre property located on the banks of the James River in Richmond, Virginia.  The property was given for use as a public park by James and Sallie Dooley who lived in the property’s Victorian mansion from 1893 – 1925.

Now that I have been away for a while, I will tell you that I used to kind of take Maymont for granted.  I assumed everywhere had such places of varied and beautiful terrain; part park, part zoo, part gardens, and part museum.

Going to Maymont is actually one of my earliest memories. When I was very young my favorite part of was the zoo; as I grew older it was the Japanese Gardens. But my favorite thing to do at Maymont has always been to have a picnic.  Exact favorite spot? On the hill adjacent to the Maymont Mansion. If you’re ever in Richmond, be sure not to miss it – and it’s free! (donations are encouraged.)

Maymont Park Richmond Virginia

If I were in Richmond, Virginia, right now, I would go pick out a box lunch at Sally Bell’s Kitchen and head on over. (Today I have a taste for chicken salad.)

So what’s your favorite spot to have a picnic?

If you’re headed to Rome sometime, you may want to check out Rome’s 5 Best Picnic Locations.

For more information about our monthly cafe chat, Across the Cafe Table, visit here.

photos: davidlind

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About the author

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Linda Dini Jenkins

    I love your stories. And what a treat to see something about Richmond’s amazing Maymont, one of my favorite places in our “new” home town!

  2. Margo Millure

    thanks, Linda! It really is an amazing place and gift to the community. So beautiful.

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